15 Fun Home Pregnancy Tests That Might Actually Work

Before the days when it was easy to test whether they were pregnant or not, women used many different methods of detection, including the use of… Simi - October 17, 2018

Before the days when it was easy to test whether they were pregnant or not, women used many different methods of detection, including the use of some common household products. Nowadays, we have home pregnancy tests that can tell us as early as five days before a missed period that we are pregnant.

If you start experiencing symptoms like nausea, sore breasts, mood swings, fatigue and you have missed your period, there’s a strong possibility you are pregnant. You can confirm whether you are or not within about ten days following ovulation. To receive accurate results, you should wait for about a week after missing a period before doing a test. Your body needs enough time to produce Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone that is only present in your urine if you are pregnant.

Most pregnancy tests, whether store-bought or homemade, work in the same way. They detect the presence of HCG in the urine. This pregnancy hormone is present in a woman’s body after the egg is implanted. It is secreted by the cells that are starting to form the placenta.

Women may want to take pregnancy tests at home for various reasons. It’s fun to read about some old-fashioned ways of testing for pregnancy and try them out. In most cases, the ingredients are readily available, and they provide a cheap, simple, easy way to get some idea if they’re pregnant. Many types of DIY tests are used in areas of the world where pregnancy tests are not available. Some of these tests are quite reliable, but they are not a replacement for the type of antenatal assessment conducted by a gynecologist.

1. Urine

Your urine always provides information about your health and well-being. When you are pregnant, this is no exception. The easiest way to test if you are pregnant is to examine your urine. It’s best to use the first urine you produce in the morning because it is the most concentrated. Urine becomes more diluted as you drink more liquid during the day.

Collect your early-morning urine in a suitable flat-based container. Leave it to stand untouched for 24 hours. Make sure the container is resting on a flat surface and don’t shake it at all. If you notice a frothy layer on top, it’s possible you could be pregnant. This frothy layer indicates the presence of HCG in your urine.

Margaret Crane is the woman to thank for the first home pregnancy test. She worked at a pharmaceutical company, and it was in the laboratory that she saw some test tubes hanging over a mirrored surface. She was told that they were pregnancy tests. The test tubes contained reagents mixed with pregnant women’s urine, producing a red ring at the base of the tube which was reflected in the mirror.

This sparked something off in her, and she went home and experimented with this idea because she believed women should be the first to know if they were pregnant and should not have to wait for weeks to get an answer.  In 1971, she received a patent for her design, which she called “The Predictor.” It consisted of a vial with reagents, a dropper, a mirror and a rack. Years later, the first home pregnancy tests appeared on the market.

2. Sugar

Testing for pregnancy by using sugar is an easy method that has been used for centuries. Its simplicity makes it popular, and the results seem quite accurate. For this test, all you need is three teaspoons of sugar, your early-morning urine and a sterile container.

Put the three teaspoons of sugar into the sterile container. You can then urinate directly onto the sugar, or collect it separately and pour it into the container. Wait ten minutes to see what happens. If the sugar simply dissolves in the water, you’re unlikely to be pregnant. If it starts to clump, this indicates the presence of HCG, and you may be pregnant. The clumps should be well defined and stay that way. They should not dissolve after a few minutes.

The reason why this test works is like any other type of pregnancy test. It identifies the HCG levels in the urine. The visible reaction of the sugar to HCG is the clumping you observe.  In early pregnancy, the amount of the HCG in the blood doubles every 2-3 days and then the levels plateau in the second trimester. This is why it is better to wait about a week after a missed period to do the test. Testing too close to conception may produce inaccurate results because the placenta may not have had enough time to produce enough HCG to be detected.

If you are not able to identify the results, you will either need to do the test again in a few days, do another home pregnancy test or make an appointment to see the doctor. While the sugar test may be able to give you some idea if you are expecting, it should never replace proper prenatal testing. 

3. Bleach

If you are pregnant, you don’t want to inhale fumes from the mixture of bleach and urine, so you need to be careful with this test. It is best to wear gloves and a mask, and it’s always better to carry out the test in a well-ventilated area. People doing this test suggest varying quantities of bleach and urine, and the time you need to wait before checking the results also varies. This means that testing this way is not always accurate.

For this test, you can use half a cup of bleach and half a cup of urine. Collect half a cup of urine first thing in the morning. Put on the mask and gloves and add half a cup of bleach to the urine. Wait for about ten minutes and see what happens. If you don’t observe any reaction, the result is negative. If you see foam or any type of reaction, you could be pregnant.

Most women are generally quite surprised to find that bleach can be used to check for pregnancy, but the fact that it is commonly found in most homes, coupled with the fact that many women just want a quick preliminary test result, has made it quite popular. You will see a number of online tutorials on how to do the tests and what the results should look like.

There is nothing to lose from doing this test as it won’t cost you any money and if you suspect the results are inaccurate, you will want to reconfirm results with a doctor anyway. Some women who have tried this test say that if you are pregnant, the mixture froths up to the point of almost spilling over the lip of the cup. If you are not pregnant, it may just fizz just a little.

4. Toothpaste

The toothpaste test for pregnancy is another popular one, probably because we all have toothpaste on hand. For this test, you will need a dollop of toothpaste to add to two tablespoons of morning urine. Place the toothpaste in a plastic cup and add the urine you have collected. Wait for 10 minutes for a reaction.

If the toothpaste turns light blue or becomes frothy, you could be pregnant. If the toothpaste simply starts dissolving in the urine and there isn’t any other reaction, the result is negative. This is some fun for anyone who thinks they might be pregnant and there are a number of YouTube tutorials that take you through the process and show you the results.

Advice about the quantities of urine and toothpaste to use differ, and there is no advice on what type of toothpaste to use, except that it should be white. It is also unknown exactly how much time it takes to see the results. It is possible that if you use too much urine in relation to toothpaste, it may not turn blue, even if you are pregnant. A number of women seem to find that they do not see this blue color.

Doctors laugh about this test and say that men and women are getting positive results from taking it! The fizz is because the acidity of the urine reacts with calcium carbonate found in the toothpaste. The more acidic your urine, the greater the amount of fizz you will see. They say this test is harmless fun but that women should not rely on it but purchase an over-the-counter pregnancy test or take a blood test for an accurate result.  

5. Salt

Many people also use a salt test to detect pregnancy. For this test, you will need two to three teaspoons of salt, a sterile container and early-morning urine. Urinate into the container and add the salt. Stir gently and wait.  If the salt dissolves in the urine, the test is negative. If you see some kind of reaction, you could be pregnant.

Looking at videos of how to do this test and what results you can expect to get is confusing. Some say you should expect to see a layer like milk cheese on the top of the mixture, and others say you will see a foaming membrane on the top if you are pregnant. The length of time you need to wait to see results also varies, with some people suggesting you need to wait for quite some time.

Obviously, you cannot rely on these results, and the test should only be done for fun. Accurate testing involves precise measurements, waiting times and definite results. In this test, even the results tend to vary and can be interpreted subjectively. Changes are easy to misinterpret. Frothing, foaming, clumping and fizzing are just some of the terms used to describe the results.

Perhaps the results of a salt test for pregnancy are rather dubious, but they do not compare with the strangeness of a test suggested by a 10th-century philosopher. This test required a woman to urinate on a surface and pour sulfur over it. If worms appeared in the mix, she was pregnant. If they didn’t appear, she was not pregnant. One can’t help but wonder whether this test ever produced a positive result.

6. Shampoo

The shampoo home test for pregnancy is another popular one. All you need is a little bit of shampoo to help you find out if your urine contains HCG. If it does, you’re pregnant. For this test, you need shampoo, a sterile container and your first urine of the morning. Add a few drops of shampoo to your urine and wait for about 10 minutes to see if any changes take place. If you are pregnant, you will see some change in the color and look of the mixture.

In the past, women used to place their urine in a basin and place a latch or key on the bottom of the basin for about three hours. If the outline of the latch or key remained in the basin when it was removed from the mixture, the woman was pregnant.

Home pregnancy tests using common household items are not the only ones where foam and bubbles are examined so closely. Before medicine was at the stage where urine could be analyzed, women would go to see special prophets who would look at the shapes and bubbles in their urine to tell if they were pregnant or not. The urine was studied and analyzed in the same way as tea leaves were used to predict the future – solely on its appearance.

Physicians have used various urine-based pregnancy tests through the ages. One of the tests was to place a needle in a woman’s urine, and if she was pregnant, it would rust black or red.  It was only much later that more rational and scientific methods were adopted and much, much later that the hormone-driven approach to pregnancy testing came into being.

7. Soap

Soap is also commonly used to help test for pregnancy. You will need a small piece of soap, two tablespoons of urine and a sterile container. Put the soap in the cup and add two tablespoons of urine you collected first thing in the morning.  Leave for five minutes and observe. If the mixture begins to form froth or bubble, you could be pregnant. If not much change is observed and the soap remains largely intact, the test is negative.

Not many find that this test is effective, but it is worth a try to satisfy your curiosity. This is definitely a better way to test if you’re pregnant than a common method used in ancient Greece and Egypt. Women used to go to sleep with garlic or onions placed near or even in their vaginas. In the morning they would see whether the smell was on their breath. If not, a woman was likely to be pregnant because it was thought the baby in the womb was blocking the smell from traveling through the body.

It was only in the 20th century that HCG was identified as a pregnancy marker. This was discovered through animal testing. In experiments, urine was injected directly into rats, mice and rabbits. The animal had to be killed and dissected to observe the effects on the ovaries. If the urine belonged to a pregnant woman, the ovaries would show visible signs because the animal would go into heat.

Fortunately, pregnancy testing during the era when rabbits and other small animals were used was not that popular or widespread. The results were also not that accurate. References to the rabbit test are still made in current popular culture.  Of course, animal testing of this nature would be considered unethical today.

8.  Vinegar

A homemade pregnancy test using vinegar has been in use since the ancient times. Vinegar is available in most homes and is cheap. You will need half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of early morning urine. Add the two together and wait for five minutes. The vinegar reacts if there is HCG in the urine and changes color. If there is no color change, the test is negative.

When you add the two together, the mixture may bubble a little. Don’t bother about this because it does not indicate pregnancy. You should only use white vinegar because you are more easily able to see any change in the color of the mixture. Using other vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, which already has color, can make the result harder to detect. The container you use should be clean and sterile, or the results could be affected.

This test is supposed to work because vinegar is an acid and it reacts with the proteins of HCG. However, it is difficult to establish the exact ratio of vinegar to urine to obtain accurate results. The waiting time before results can be seen is also unknown. Just as these kinds of tests do not give reliable results, the very first homemade pregnancy tests took a while before results were seen, and the results of these tests were not that reliable either.

Pregnancy tests first came on the market in 1977, and consisted of a test tube, purified water and some red blood cells from a sheep. A woman used an angled mirror to urinate into the tube, added the water and the sheep’s blood, and refrigerated it for two hours. False negatives were fairly common. Things have come a long way since then, and it is possible to achieve very accurate results with home pregnancy tests within a few minutes. 

9. Dandelion leaves

Are you ready to go dandelion hunting in your backyard? The presence of dandelion leaves in this test suggests that it may have come from a time when women were more in touch with the natural world and herbal lore. It has, however, remained a popular option for testing for pregnancy at home without using a kit. For this test, you will need 2-3 fresh dandelion leaves, early-morning urine and a wide container. The leaves of the dandelion apparently have chemicals in them that interact with HCG.

Collect the urine in a wide container and add the leaves, making sure they are thoroughly soaked. Some people simply place the leaves on some plastic on the floor and then urinate over them.  Wait for a while to check for any changes. If you observe red blisters on the leaves, you could be pregnant.  If there is no change in color, you are not pregnant.

Make sure that the dandelion leaves aren’t exposed to too much sunlight before doing the test. Make sure leaves are fully soaked with the first urine of the day and note that the changes in appearance do not take place immediately but could take some time to appear. If you use urine from later in the day, the sample may be more diluted and less likely to provide noticeable results.

Room for error exists in tests like this. Using some common sense can prevent some of these errors from occurring. For example, dandelion leaves that are uncontaminated by chemicals are likely to work better than those that may have been sprayed. Using a sterile container to collect the urine also prevents any unknown contaminants from entering the mix.

10. Hydrogen Peroxide and Tylenol

These are two items you probably never imagined mixing together. Hydrogen Peroxide has many different uses, one being to disinfect cuts and scratches. Many of us have Tylenol in our medical kits that we use for relief from pain and fever. Some people use these two items together to test for pregnancy. Basically, this test determines the level of HCG in the urine, just like the kits you buy in the store.

The suggestion is to use two crushed Tylenol pills and two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Stick to white Tylenol pills for the best results. Mix the crushed Tylenol pills in with the hydrogen peroxide and then urinate into the container. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes, and it should turn blue if you’re pregnant. If it doesn’t change in color, the test is negative and you’re not pregnant.

People suggest that only name-brand Tylenol works for this test, and they should be the regular, hard, white tablets and not the liquid capsules. Only enough hydrogen peroxide needs to be used to make the crushed tablets fizz. It is also suggested that not too much urine is added to the mixture.

This test is convenient if you want a quick, cheap way to find out if you’re pregnant, but once again, you should not rely on it exclusively. It may have been used successfully by many women to find out whether they’re pregnant, but it should not be your only tool. The best way is to confirm the results with an over-the-counter pregnancy test before consulting a doctor.

 11. Strips

For this test, you will need some HCG test strips which can be found at any pharmacy, a sterile container and some urine. Collect your first urine of the morning in the sterile container and then dip the strip into it with the arrow pointing to the urine. After about three seconds, remove it and place it on a dry, non-absorbent surface. Check the results after five minutes.

The results appear as a double or single line. If two lines appear, you are pregnant. If a single line appears, you are not.  Strips are used by millions of women today to confirm pregnancies. They are easily available, and results are accurate. However, a blood test to confirm pregnancy is usually recommended by gynecologists.

Most brands of home pregnancy tests are about 97% accurate, assuming they are performed according to the instructions given. With this high a level of accuracy, you can usually believe the results. However, there are some cases that you might receive a false reading. Most other medications, such as pain relievers, birth control pills and antibiotics do not interfere with the results. However, some medications can give false results.

Sometimes false positive readings are obtained when medications that contain HCG are being used, such as some fertility treatments. They may indicate that a woman is pregnant even when she is not.  Sometimes you will receive a false negative if you test too early, or if the test you use is not sensitive enough. If you do receive a negative result, but you are still convinced you are pregnant, you should do the test again in a few days.

12. Basal body thermometer

Your basal body temperature (BBT) changes due to various factors, such as your hormone levels. You can use your basal body temperature to determine your most fertile days and check for ovulation. Your gynecologist may recommend charting your temperature to help detect for ovulation. It can also be used to check for pregnancy.

When you ovulate, progesterone causes your temperature to rise, and it remains high for about two weeks. Just before the start of your period, the progesterone level drops, and your BBT drops, too. If you are pregnant, it remains high because your progesterone levels remain high. This is why it can be used to determine whether or not you are pregnant.

If you’re going to read your basal body temperature, you need to check it before you get out of bed in the morning. Even going to the bathroom can make your temperature rise and your chart will not be accurate. You need to place the thermometer under your tongue for a few seconds to get an accurate reading. When it comes to pregnancy detection, BBT charts are not the best method and can really only offer small hints.

It may be tempting to look for every small sign of pregnancy, and it can be stressful to wait for long enough to make taking a test effective. In the interim, using a rise in basal body temperature may give you a clue, but it is also very easy to come to mistaken conclusions and think you’re pregnant when you’re not, or vice versa. An over-the-counter pregnancy test could quickly give you peace of mind.  

13. Wheat and barley

One of the earliest known methods of trying to find out whether a woman was pregnant was an ancient Egyptian one known as the wheat and barley test. The urine of the pregnant woman was taken for several days and spread on seeds of wheat and barley to see if crops sprouted. This test was done to detect pregnancy and the gender of a baby.

The Egyptians might have known a thing or two! Researchers subsequently studied this method. They added urine from pregnant and non-pregnant females as well as males to two varieties of seeds of barley and wheat. Distilled water was used as a control. The urine from the non-pregnant females and males caused no growth of the seeds. In 28 out of 40 cases where the urine of pregnant females was used, appreciable growth occurred.

These researchers concluded that when growth occurs, the urine is presumably that of a pregnant woman, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Amazingly, the hormones in the urine actually do help the seedlings to grow. Not bad for those ancient Egyptians! The researchers did state, however, that they found no scientific basis for predicting the sex of a baby from this test.

People have conducted some curious tests to find out the sex of a baby over time – one of these is the cabbage test. Boil a red cabbage, save the water and add it to your urine. If the water turns pink, you’re having a girl, and if it turns purple, it’s a boy. Another idea is that if you have extreme morning sickness that goes beyond the first trimester, you’re probably having a girl. An old wives’ tale is that if you’re carrying low, you’re having a boy and if you’re carrying high, it’s a girl. 

14. Mustard powder

This test works a little differently from some of the others in that no urine testing is required. Mustard powder has many uses, one of which is to regulate the menstrual cycle. It can also be used to determine whether a late period is due to pregnancy or other reasons. There are many different reasons why a period could be late, such as changes in diet or hormonal imbalances.

To use mustard powder to test for pregnancy, fill a bath with hot water and add fresh mustard powder. Mix it into the water thoroughly with your hand until all the particles are dissolved. Once it is dissolved, soak your whole body in the bath for about 15 minutes. After this, take a shower and wait until the next day. If you begin menstruation, the result is negative, and the delay was due to some other reason. If there is still no sign of your period, you could be pregnant. The reason this test works is because it raises your body temperature.

In the 1950s, if a woman wanted to know if she was pregnant, she could have her urine injected into an African clawed frog. The frog acted as a living pregnancy test, and if it laid eggs between five and twelve hours of being injected, the woman was pregnant. This test was faster and better than other tests which involved the deaths of mice, rabbits and frogs.

The use of frogs was slowly abandoned, but it was the frogs that turned pregnancy testing into a large-scale endeavor. Tens of thousands of frogs were injected with human urine in the 1940s and 1950s. Stocks of the African clawed frog (Xenopus) popped up all over the world as they became the very first mainstream pregnancy test.

15. Wine Pregnancy Test

There was a time when urine was tested not by using high-tech pregnancy tests or medical doctors but by prophets. These experts would examine urine and ascertain whether a baby was on the way by considering various factors such as smell and color. The more advanced prophets mixed the urine with wine. The urine was shaken up with the alcohol in a specially constructed container and observed for any changes.

Alcohol does, in fact, react with some of the proteins produced during pregnancy and cause changes in consistency, so maybe there was more to this method than meets the eye. Uroscopy, or examining urine, is a practice that actually dates back to ancient Babylonia.

The evolution of pregnancy testing has been a long and rather bizarre journey. In 1988, the first one-piece test kit was introduced by Unilever. In these kits, porous paper was permeated with antibodies which reacted to HCG. As the urine passed through the antibodies and into the control area, a colored band would appear if you were pregnant.

Today women have their pick of many user-friendly, accurate home pregnancy test kits though it’s interesting to note that we are still detecting pregnancy today by urinating on things. Most women now have the luxury of choice – they can choose to have some fun by trying out recipes that may have been all that some women could depend on in the past. Then they can pick up a kit from a pharmacy and get an accurate enough result to make that appointment with a gynecologist.